Bianca Butcher’s (Patsy Palmer) return to EastEnders has already brought with it plenty of drama when you consider that she’s been at the centre of Whitney’s (Shona McGarty) wedding woes — and her boozy reunion with Kat (Jessie Wallace) certainly deserves a mention too — but there’ll be plenty more drama for the Walford legend to come prior to her departure, as her secrets will soon come to light.
It’s safe to say that viewers are delighted to have the memorable Bianca back on the Square — even if it’s just for a flying visit. However, EastEnders bosses Kate Oates and Jon Sen have revealed that — whilst it was great to have the iconic character back on the show — her return would’ve only been plausible if there was a believable narrative in place to accompany it.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, Kate said: ‘We knew that we wanted some classic names in the show for the September launch. Obviously we’re so lucky that Lucy [Benjamin] said yes, and there was story propelling her forward — and the same with Patsy — but I think that what’s key is Patsy’s stint is shorter, but it’s the catalyst that she brings with her.’
Bianca’s secrets will soon come to light, and one of them will seemingly be a mystery man. However, who this man is, and what kind of relationship he shares with Bianca has yet to be revealed.
In regards to this mystery guy, Kate continued: ‘He’s certainly connected to her past, and it’s also possibly part of the reason why she didn’t rush back when Tiffany was involved in the county lines gang, but the whole point of it was it’s great to bring a name back, but it’s only good if there’s story. We didn’t want to have that thing of ‘Yay, it’s Bianca. Bye then’, so we talked about it for a long time and having the story that propels after she’s gone.’
Yes, for Kate, the story was the top priority, and the efforts that both she and Jon — and the story team as a whole — have made will no doubt pay off in the long run. Sure, it’s always nice to see a familiar face — and who doesn’t love a bit of nostalgia? — but a high-profile return like Bianca’s can only work if it’s of benefit to the show in the current state which it’s in — not to mention the narratives which are currently underway. Pressing pause on the storylines so that we could reminisce about the good ole’ days simply wouldn’t have worked — especially given all of the drama that was due to unfold on this particular week.
Judging by what Kate says, Bianca’s comeback — and subsequent exit — will bring with it plenty of story opportunities, thus creating several new narratives for those characters that are staying put on the Square, giving the writers months worth of new material.
Elaborating on this further, Jon said: ‘This just kicks of another long-term story for them all. I think that’s the way that soap works best in that it’s the constant cause and effect of all these characters that come back from the past and join — and everything’s kicking off story the whole time.’
‘Kate’s completely right, it was joyous when we said ‘Oh, you know, maybe we could get Bianca back’ everybody’s really excited because she’s a really iconic character — and Patsy’s brilliant — but our due diligence to the audience — and to drama — meant that we made sure that it kicked off a story that would sustain for twelve/eighteen months.’
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